Officers guard campuses this week

December 19, 2012

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Uniformed law officers stood guard at all Granbury school district campuses when students arrived Monday morning.

The extra security was in response to Friday’s school massacre in Connecticut and rumors of security threats at Granbury High School.

All went well Monday, school officials said.

Police were unable to confirm any threat.

“There still has not been any specific confirmed threat that has led the police to make an arrest or file charges,” Granbury School Superintendent Jim Largent said.

The superintendent said the “safety and security of our students and staff is our highest priority. Our employees come to work every day with the purpose of providing a safe and secure environment to educate our children. We don’t just do that when there are rumors. We do that every single day.”

Many parents apparently were worried about security – or lack of. Student attendance Monday was about 8 percent lower than usual, Largent said.

One mother of four, who did not want her name used, said Monday morning that she was going to check her daughter out of Granbury Middle School for the day.

She said that she was overcome with fears for her daughter’s safety after a friend received a message from her own daughter – a student at Granbury High School – begging her mother to come get her.

“Something scared her to death,” the woman said.

She added that she has instructed her children on what to do if they are ever confronted by a shooter at school.

“I’ve told them, if you’re there and you hear firing, lay down and play dead,” she said.

One of the alleged threats, Largent said, referred to the Mayan calendar and the end of time. It was supposedly made by a student in the lunch line last week at GHS, he said.

Monday night, the school board meeting room overflowed with parents concerned about safety in the schools.

Earlier in the day, Largent responded to “false rumors” on social media:

“There has been NO gun found on any campus.

“There has been NO bomb threat at any school.

“NO ‘hit list’ has been found.”

The superintendent said that rumors posted on social media hinder investigation by the school and police.

Police have identified graffiti found on a brick on an outside wall at the high school to be a copycat of a slogan of a known computer hacker group named Anonymous, the superintendent pointed out. “We cannot confirm when this was posted, but it could have been well before last Friday.” The message does not relate to violence, school officials believe.

Largent encourages any individual with factual information about a threat to make a report to law enforcement or school officials as soon as possible.

“If this matter leads to any arrests or criminal charges, we will report that information immediately,” he said. “We will proceed with this school week as normally as possible, with our law enforcement officers continuing to provide an extra presence at all campuses (through the end of the week).”

It’s not clear if the school plans to beef up security after the holidays. School board President Micky Shearon said the community in the past has not expressed an interest in having GISD mirror inner-city schools with a strong security presence. But, he said, that could change.

There’s been one officer in the district who usually works at the high school. The doors at all campuses are locked after students arrive, and visitors are allowed to be “buzzed” in through an intercom and a video system.

Absences this week will be treated like any other day, and students will make up classwork or exams when they return, the superintendent said.

Parents wanting to attend classes with their student may do so after completing the standard security check in the campus office and making arrangements with the campus principal, Largent added.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 245

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